ACLU Sues for release of prisoners at federal prison in Louisiana for COVID-19 concerns

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KLFY) — With five confirmed coronavirus-related deaths at the Oakdale Federal Detention Center, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the prison to release those most at-risk for COVID-19.

Oakdale’s facility has had more deaths than any other Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility in the nation. The lawsuit, filed with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, names Warden J.P. Young and BOP Director Michael Carvajal as defendants.

“While the urgency of getting people out of this prison has been acknowledged even by Attorney General William Barr, who issued a directive last week to reduce the number of people in the prison, that directive was based on a case-by-case analysis,” stated the ACLU in a press release. “In this lawsuit, the ACLU argues this posture is too slow. The five people who have died in Oakdale all died after his directive was first issued.”

The lawsuit notes that a recent study from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found cases grew at a rate of 68.7 percent in the two weeks after the first case was reported in the state –the fastest growth rate in the country. The lawsuit notes that prisons are “fundamentally incapable” of following the government’s recommendations in dealing with COVID-19.

The complaint lists six specific prisoners that should be released and the pre-existing medical conditions they face in addition to the threat from coronavirus: Brandon Livas, Richard J. Buswell, Johnny Smith, Carlos L. Martin, Dewayne Corbett, and Gaines Andrews.

Download and read the entire complaint below:

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